Clothes Few Dare to Wear

Rei Kawakubo for Comme des Garçons objects on display at The Met’s Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between advance press event. Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art/BFA.com

Rei Kawakubo invented Comme des Garçons (like some boys) in Japan in 1973, and her Paris debut in 1981 made fashion history. Rei’s art is boundary-breaking and remarkable: Continue reading

Lygia Pape: A Multitude of Forms

Lygia Pape Sculpture

Lygia Pape (Brazilian, 1927–2004) Livro do tempo (Book of Time) 1961–1963 Tempera and acrylic on wood; 365 parts Photo by Paula Pape © Projeto Lygia Pape

The Lydia Pape exhibition at the Met Bruer through July 23 is a revelation. Altogether, every aspect of its catalog demonstrates the artist’s originality, her ways of championing Brazil’s indigenous cultures and architecture – such as the impoverished seaside Favela da Maré built on stilts, and her geo-philosophical ways of making art. Continue reading

Walk on the Beach: Things from the Sea, Volume One

Walk on the Beach: Things from the Sea, Volume One  is a residual book, being a text and image diary of passing objects, and a short-term physical meeting of minds within the BABEL working group. Composed of artists, researchers, historians, philosophers and scientists, the group periodically works together, and then disperses; this book is one such meeting’s remnant. Continue reading

Making Your Life as an Artist: Making Workbook

Making Workbook inside cover.

Making Workbook inside cover.

In a previous blog post I reviewed the book and digital download Making Your Life as an Artist by Andrew Simonet, a considered insight into the role of art and methods for working efficiently with an art-based skill-set. This matter-of-fact publication has unsurprisingly expanded into an even further practicable format in the Making Workbook. Continue reading

Grand Arts: Visions that Provoke and Disrupt

Grants Arts Sculpture

Rosemarie Fiore, process photo, The Good-Time Mix Machine: Scrambler Drawings, 2004.
Acrylic paint on vinyl, 60 x 60 ft. (Photograph courtesy E.G. Schempf)

Art creation takes more than time and money: it takes research, focus, and many kinds of support/teamwork. That’s one main message in Grand Arts 1995 – 2015 Problems and Provocations. When Glenn Harper assigned me to cover the Grand Arts opening of Pattie Cronin’s Memorial to a Marriage – a Carrara marble, Hosmer-inspired mortuary sculpture in Kansas City, Missouri around 2002, I had heard of Margaret Hall Silva’s arts foundation from artist Jeff Aeling (1996 awardee), but I didn’t realize until I read this book how messy and blindly optimistic Grand Arts was to commission work as revolutionary as Cronin’s Memorial and Sanford Biggers’ Blossom – a piano “born” from a tree, which, on its own, plays a soulful version of Billie Holiday’s Strange Fruit. Continue reading

And Another Thing…

and another thing sculpture

Front cover of “And Another Thing…” (detail). Courtesy of Creative Commons Licensing. Image: Zimoun. 25 woodworms, wood, microphone, sound system, 2009. Video, 55 seconds. Courtesy of the artist and Bitforms Gallery

And Another Thing…” is an exhibition-based publication, but builds upon rather than accompanies its counterpart. It was published this summer to contextualise a 2011 show in CUNY, New York, that shares the same title. This show, mainly composed of feminist and minimalist pieces, worked with nonanthropocentrism – a key aspect of speculative realism and object-oriented ontology – at a time just before those principles became popular touchstones for artists and curators. Continue reading

Rodin’s Visceral Vision

Rodin Sculpture

Rodin surrounded by plasterworks in his studio. Photographed by Eugène Druet Ph.203. 10 × 10 in. (25.6 × 25.2cm).

The new Musée Rodin book does an excellent job of framing Rodin’s multi-faceted legacy. It covers the artist’s beginnings, historical contexts, studio practice, and artistic achievements, including the surprising fact that Rodin failed the École des Beaux-Arts sculpture admissions test three times and largely developed his sculpture practice on his own. Due to space limitations, my review will address three facets not fully fleshed out in this well-illustrated volume: why Camille Claudel’s role is still under-explored;  how Rodin enlarged the platform for sculpture and public art as he ushered in subjects lacking conventional beauty and frontal male nudity; and how his erotic art challenged the sexual taboos of his era (and even our own). Continue reading